Posts Tagged ‘Regents Canal’

Regents Canal 200

Friday, February 14th, 2020

If you are in London next month you are invited to the private view of the exhibition ‘2020 Vision – Vistas and Views’ at The Street Gallery, University College Hospital, 235 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BU. The gallery is along an area at the front of the hospital – turn right immediately you go through the main entrance – and will be on show until 22nd April 2020.

As well as paintings by Hilary Rosen the show includes a dozen pictures from a project I’ve been working on when I’ve had time over the past year, ‘Regents Canal 200‘.

The Regent’s Canal, which runs from Little Venice on the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal to Limehouse Dock was completed and opened in 1820, 200 years ago this year. There are other, more official, celebrations later in the year but I began this project in complete ignorance of these.

I’ve photographed the Regent’s Canal occasionally over the years since the late 1970s, and have hundreds or probably thousands of pictures from it, both in black and white and colour. But since space is limited in the gallery I will only be showing a small selection of the several hundred colour panoramas I’ve made over the past year.

Please RSVP to Laura Bradshaw – laura.bradshaw7@nhs.net 020 3447 7146 – though you will be welcome anyway, and Hilary and I will be pleased to see you there. If you want to print out a copy of the invitation you can open it as a PDF.


Regent’s Canal Camden

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

200 years ago the Regent’s Canal was opened. In some respects it was like HS2 today, cutting travel times, though for goods, providing a more direct link between London’s Docks and the canal system which served Birmingham and much of the rest of England. Perhaps more importantly it brought coal and building materials into the centre of London at City Road Basin, and other basins and Samuel Plimsoll’s (remembered for his line) coal drops north of King’s Cross.

And like HS2 it came in late (though at the moment it is still doubtful if HS2 will come in at all, and it certainly will never deliver what was promised.)

The canal was first proposed in 1802, but only got Parliamentary approval in 1812, after it had been adopted by the Prince Regent (later George IV) and John Nash as a part of their scheme for redeveloping Regent’s Park.

Like HS2, the canal had its controversies and problems. In 1815 Thomas Homer, who had first proposed the canal and remained in charge with Nash although neither knew anything about building canals, was found to have stolen company funds and was sentenced to transportation (though it appears the sentence was never carried out.) The first length of the canal, from Little Venice to Camden was completed and opened on the birthday of the Prince Regent in August 1816, but there wasn’t enough money to complete the rest.

The government came to the rescue with the Poor Employment Act of 1817, designed to give work to those unemployed after the end of the war against Napoleon, which provided cheap labour so the scheme could continue.

There were technical problems too, particularly with at Hampstead Road, where a hydro-pneumatic boat lift had been built to an innovative design by William Congreve (better known for his military rockets.) Designed to save water, as the canal had problems with water supply, although the design worked when first installed it quickly broke down when handed over to the canal company, possibly because the materials then available for pneumatic seals were not up to prolonged use. There was a lengthy and acrimonious dispute between the inventor and the canal company, who eventually replaced the lift with a two chamber conventional lock as used elsewhere on the canal.

Also like HS2, there were huge cost increases. The canal eventually cost £772,000 which was twice the original estimate.

I’d begun my walk at Camden Road station, walking from there through the Maiden Lane estate and new developments to York Way where I met a colleague with whom I will be having an exhibition in March 2020. My contribution to the joint show will be a set of around a dozen pictures commemorating the canal anniversary. We made our way together along the towpath to Kentish Town Rd, with several stops where she sat down to sketch and I wandered around making photographs. After leaving her I walked on to Cumberland Basin before returning to Camden Road station.

Many more pictures and displayed large on My London Diary at Camden, Kings X & Regent’s Canal


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


More Canal Pans

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Photographing protests and other events generally keeps me pretty busy and for some years I’ve had little time for anything else, along of course putting some of my earlier work online and writing this blog and keeping My London Diary almost up-to-date. But one project that I’ve managed to do a little work now and then on is making panoramic images of London’s canals – and I hope to use a few of these in a show next year.

My first panoramic project, back in 1992 when I bought my first panoramic camera was on the DLR extension then being built from Poplar to Beckton. Prints from this were shown at the Museum of London back then, and a few are now in their collection – and one is in the current show, Secret Rivers at the Museum of London Docklands.

I’d chosen to work in panorama (using a Japanese Widelux camera) because I thought that the essentially linear nature of the railway was particularly suited to the panoramic format, and it seems to me that the same applies to photographing the canals. I’m now working of course with digital, and the pictures I’m making don’t natively come in a panoramic format as the camera sensor is either 3:2 (with the Nikons) or 4:3 in the pictures I’ve made with the Olympus EM5 MkII.

The character of the cylindrical perspective that I’m currently working with (others are possible) means that the image curvature required to give the wide angle of view (around 145°) increases towards the top and bottom of the image, and using a 4:3 or similar format makes it more noticeable than a more normal panoramic format such as 2.5:1. So I often crop the images to a more panoramic aspect, often 1.9:1 which can give a more natural look.

Cropping the image also has another advantage. In making these images it is important to keep the camera level – aided by indicators in the viewfinder at bottom and left of the image. Doing so means that the horizon will always be a horizontal line splitting the image into two equal halves, and this can make a set of images a little monotonous. When cropping the images, it is possible to move this above or below the centre line. In days largely long past, landscape photographers used cameras with a rising or falling front to acheive the same goal, and for much of my black and white work on film I used a 35mm shift lens which could do the same.

These pictures were taken between the end of a protest in Hackney and my visit to an Open Studio event at the Chisenhale Studios in Bethnal Green to which I walked. I began the walk along the canal in one of my favourite spots where Mare St becomes Cambridge Heath Road and goes over the canal and then walked east along the Regent’s Canal towpath to the junction with the Hertford Union Canal. I had time to go a little beyond the studios before turning around and returning to leave the canal and make my way to the studios. By the time I got there the rain was beginning to come down fairly steadily and I’d walked around a mile and a half.

More pictures at Bethnal Green Canal Walk


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Regents Canal – Kings Cross

Monday, September 9th, 2019

I had an hour or so to spare before a protest taking place outside The Guardian offices at Kings Place on York Way, the building at the left of the picture above and decided it was enough time to take some pictures along the canal, mainly to the east from York way to the mouth of the tunnel under Islington. The picture above is from where I walked down to the canal from York Way, and as you can see it was a good day for panoramic images like this, with plenty of interest in the sky. Skies do tend to take up a rather large part of such images, and either a dull overall grey or a clear blue can make them rather boring. The clouds in pictures like this also enliven the water with their reflections.

Walking under the York Way bridge I made an image showing the bridge and the building of Kings Place, with a waterside sculpture. There was little traffic on the canal and the water was a smooth mirror showing the buildings and the sky.

A few yards further on and I could see into the Battlebridge basin as well as the buildings alongside the canal and the moored narrow boats. When I first photographed here the buildings alongside the canal were industrial, but now they have largely been replaced by new flats. The canal here is more open and the water is rippled, making the reflections less clear.

A little further east and the canal was more sheltered, again giving a smooth mirror surface and clear reflections. The cylindrical perspective needed to acheive the extreme angle of view obviously curves the roof line of the building at left which is well away from the centre of the image. Vertical line and those through the image centre are rendered straight, but other lines curve increasingly away from the centre . The canal bank at the bottom of the building is less obviously curved as it is closer to the centre.

This isn’t really a distortion but a simple effect of the projection needed to get such an extreme view onto a flat surface. It could be made less obvious by cropping from the top of the image.

A few minutes later I had reached the tunnel mouth and found that there was a small garden across the top of it, though it wasn’t really possible to get a good picture as I was unable to get inside.

I wandered around a little more on my way back to York Way, and had time also to make a few non-panoramic images.

You can see some of these as well as other panorams on My London Diary at Regent’s Canal – King’s Cross


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Regents Canal – Bethnal Green

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

More panoramic images from the Regents Canal and nearby areas in Bethnal Green.

The Oval
From Corbridge Crescent
Corbridge Cresecent
Corbdige Crescent and Grove Passage

This is an area I photographed for the first time around 1980 and that I’ve returned to occasionally over the years. On My London Diary you can see more of these cylindrical perspective panoramic views – each around 147 degrees horizontal field of view, as well as some more normal rectilinear lens views at Regent’s Canal.

I’m hoping to use some pictures from the canal in a small show next year – more later.


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images


Camden Canal

Friday, June 21st, 2019

I thought I had plenty of time to go to Camden and take some ictures along the canal towpath between two events – I think after my late lunch there were at least a couple of hours to spare. But I had reckoned without London’s traffic, and by the time my bus from Aldwych reached Camden High St, things were beginning to look a little tight.

Traffic in central London often comes to near standstill, and I could have walked there in the same time, but I can no longer walk the long distances I used to, or at least not without getting exhausted. If you want to get anywhere during the working day, apart from walking, the only reliable methods are now either cycling or using the Underground. It wasn’t feasible to bring my bike to cover the two protests, and I was saving pennies (or rather a couple of pounds) by taking the bus.

By the time I got to the canal there was very little time, and the weather had changed, with a little light rain, which does tend to get more people into their cars, so I knew my journey on to the next event would also be slow.

I’d replanned in my mind a shorter walk than anticipated while sitting on the bus, and set out only to find the canal towpath I’d intended to use had been closed for a few weeks because of building work taking place. So this was not my most successful journey. I took a few pictures, and then left, just missing a bus and finding the services were disrupted by the traffic. I did make the next event more or less on time.

The pictures here – with a few slight variations – were all that I managed to make of the canal.


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images